ParkerVision Inc. (PRKR), the patent licensing company run by CEO Jeffrey Parker, said its German unit ParkerVision GmbH filed an enforcement action against Apple Inc., Apple Distribution International and Apple Retail Germany B.V. & Co. KG for the infringement of the German part of European Patent 1 206 831.
Jacksonville, Florida-based ParkerVision said the complaint was filed in Munich Regional Court. The company is seeking injunctive relief and declaration of liability for damages for infringing devices being offered, brought to market, used or introduced in Germany. The accused products include the Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and the iPad Air 2.
ParkerVision and other U.S. patent licensing companies have started filing enforcement actions outside the U.S. in recognition of changes to the U.S. patent system that make it extremely challenging to win awards and settlements. The America Invents Act has made it much easier and cheaper for infringers to challenge weak patents in the inter pares review and covered business method review processes before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.
In addition, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has shown increasing skepticism to large damages awards to non-practicing entities, such as its rejection of the $173 million award ParkerVision had won against Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM).
Moreover, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Mayo ruling has made it nearly impossible to win injunctions, which had been a useful tool to drive settlements. In comparison, Germany and other jurisdictions in Europe still provide injunctive relief to patent owners.
The patent at issue in ParkerVision’s case against Apple is the same patent ParkerVision asserted against LG Electronics Deutschland, GmbH, a German subsidiary of LG Electronics Inc., in June 2016.
The company also noted that based upon preliminary submissions in the LG case, the Regional Court of Munich issued a preliminary opinion indicating its predisposition toward a finding of infringement.
A hearing in the LG case is scheduled for November 10.
ParkerVision is represented in the actions against Apple and LG by the law firm of Noerr LLP.
“We are pleased with the efficiency of the German court system in our infringement proceedings against LG, and we anticipate similar results in this case against Apple,” stated Jeffrey Parker, CEO of ParkerVision.
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